Prayer for the Solar Eclipse

Lunar Letter

M

ay we shine.

And as we shine, we know that we journey, one foot in front of the other, carving out the regular cycle of our stories, the circular motion of cell and breath and life, and that during this journey there will be interruptions.

We trip and we fall as we wander our course, sure as the Sun and Moon also trip over themselves in their giddy rush to meet one another once more, falling into each other’s limned embrace.

And as we rise up with our skinned knees and elbows we might, if we are brave, we might, if we are something close to wise, say “thank you” – hearing within the interruption a call to attention and awareness, discovering grace in the fall.

Seeing too the patterns to which we have clung and agreed and perpetuated knowingly or not, and taking the moment of rising to decide if we still wish to walk in this particular way on this particular path, knowing that the choice resides within, as does the answer.

And as we choose, righting ourselves once more, traveling our path with greater purpose, we no longer fear the falling, the missing of the mark, or the wandering off the course and into the wild and star-filled woods. Rather, we welcome the moments of panic and loss, recalling the freedoms that they hold alongside our own true commitments, knowing that they bring us ever closer to the embrace of our own deepest Beloved.

And so, burnished by shadow and bruised by our falling, we shine ever brighter.

Image credit: The above image comes from the book Sun and Moon, which I first heard about from the fabulous Arts and Culture blog, Brainpickings. Sun and Moon is published by indie publisher Tara Books, dedicated to giving voice to marginalized art and literature, and featuring the work of ten Indian folk and tribal artists illustrating ancient stories about Sun and Moon.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on new moons and full moons each month.

New Moon in Gemini: Blessing for Lovers of Learning

Lunar Letter

M

iracles,

Learning is often seen as boring. Prim and proper, learning wears glasses and has its hair tied up in a neat bun and only speaks at library appropriate volume. This is the story many of us have been told and bought into. So what would you say if I told you that one of the greatest figures in philosophy was guided by the Delphic Oracle and an inner voice? Or that the theory of relativity came to Einstein in a dream? That chemistry not so very long ago was in a vibrant conversation with its wild sibling, alchemy?

In my experience within our community of soulful seekers, school has been a mixed bag – either you loved it or hated it and not much in between. But across the board the sense that there is something more, something other, that not everything worth believing in can be empirically seen or justified, can sometimes make the entire process of learning feel alien; as if it is something for others but not for us. (This is part of the motivation behind the “get out of your head and into your heart” speak that you all know I find very unhelpful). I am here to tell you differently. Under the New Moon in Gemini on Thursday, let yourself come back into a wild and loving relationship with learning and the seedbed from which all learning springs up from: Wonder.

Here is a blessing to keep you company as you do.

Blessed One(s) in whom we live, move, and have our being.
You have been called by many names: Daimon, Genius, Brilliance, Intelligence, but we know you as Wonder.
As we embark on new discoveries and seek to increase our knowledge and wisdom hold us fast to your starry visage.
Remind us that learning is not measured by how much is known but rather by the quality
and depth with which we know any one thing.
Call to our minds keen-eyed Attention and sharpened Discernment so that we are fully able
to pierce through misleading illusions and see things as they truly are.
Teach us that wisdom begins not in having all of the answers but rather in asking the
one needed question.
Help us remember that this journey is not one we must make on our own but that we are
joined to a community of souls who have gone long before us and who will come long
after we are gone, and that within this community it is safe not only to know, but safe also
to admit when we do not know.
Fill us with Wonder, Blessed Ones, keeping foremost in our minds and hearts, bodies and souls,
that it is not what we know but how we live within that knowledge that shows best who we truly
are and all that we are capable of achieving…
These things we ask in the heavenly and earthly and always blessed names, may it be so.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on new moons and full moons each month.

The Stories that Sound ~ Blessed be our ability to listen

Lunar Letter

M

iracles

Most of you know that I love stories, myths, faerie tales, and folklore. I work with them as the primary source material from which the Sacred Arts spring and can best be taught and practiced.

Most of you know that I love stories, myths, faerie tales, and folklore. I work with them as the primary source material from which the Sacred Arts spring and can best be taught and practiced.

Many of the stories I focus on are faerie tales, because they are stories surprisingly and refreshingly made for all the risky, unsafe tough stuff of life. There’s some real medicine in those stories. And so many of these stories are well-known and well-loved, often with a twist or flourish that sets them apart from the “usual” ways of telling.

But the most important stories are all around us. These are stories that happen to us on a daily basis, stories that can – when seen by the right light and told in the just right way – show us not only the blessing, but also the best way to apply it to our life.

Here’s the thing about story. We usually think stories are “fiction”, and “non-fiction” is reserved for facts. But if you look into it, into the stories that really make an impact on your life, I’m willing to bet you’ll agree with me when I say that for the really powerful stories, the ones that make a difference in the way we live, the truer the better. They wouldn’t hit us if they didn’t have that ring of truth. The category that rigidly holds the separation between fiction and non-fiction? Um, not very useful, really, when you get down to brass tacks.

If stories do this, that can only mean there is something in life and experience that calls out for the telling. Every now and then – or even often! – life throws us a curve ball, a swerve, sometimes terrifying, sometimes wondrous, sometimes both – but always worth telling about, always worth remembering, always worth learning and growing from.

The stories I work with in teaching and crafting the Sacred Arts are stories that function like echo or depth-sounding in oceanography.

The greatest stories – and different ones will work for different people – penetrate our depths. They show us that we have untold depths first of all, and then they show us something needed about ourselves. They show us ourselves, or some aspect of ourselves we haven’t yet seen or felt. They make our bones vibrate and our hairs stand on end; we know them when we hear them or read them. They have the power to change us, not simply because they move us, but because they heighten, deepen and sharpen our awareness of ourselves and of life. They nourish our consciousness, which grows as a result – and this growth in consciousness is magic, possesses the actual power to begin unlocking and freeing our soul from those deepest most troublesome patterns, binds and wounds.

All of my work in the Sacred Arts, in a very real way, is about encouraging you to seek out those stories for yourself, the ones that “depth sound” your life.

And what I would love you to grasp, as this week takes us into the deeper than deep Scorpio full moon is this: the experiences and stories that depth-sound us, happen to you too, every single day. So it is that I say: blessed be our ability to listen, to truly listen, to what we see and experience and encounter; blessed be our ability to listen so that we might find our own stories that sound.

I would like to share with you one of mine own stories, one that depth-sounded my life, in exactly the moment I needed it. It is a true story, and is an origin story, showing me the way to the Sacred Arts standpoint from which I now work:

The night I saw the white horse, the moon was small and her light was dim. I had traveled with some of my family out to Fort Davis in West Texas, land at one time known only to the Great Spirit, the Comanche and Apache, and later few intrepid ranchers. And now those who had commandeered the top of a mountain did so under the unquestioned authority of science. And on this mountain, where perhaps one could watch a sunrise and know something of beauty, concrete had been poured and metal bolted down into the flesh of rock as glass-filled spaces where before there was only wind.

This was built in the name of science and for people like me who had poor vision from living in the city and rarely beholding a horizon. Built so that I might look through a lens and get a taste of the sacred and the vast that those who came before us knew as they knew their own breath or the blood dancing under their skin.

A dark moon is best for stargazing. But a small, dim moon will do. I looked through the lenses reflecting and refracting light into the galaxy with her milky thighs, and saw the scars on the moon. I beheld these things and wondered if the others around me—family and strangers—thought as I did that by beholding her scars and perfect light we might somehow better know our own.

The night grew darker and cold with a February wind blowing off the river and through the trees, singing a story of lowing cattle huddled together under the humid warmth of their breath, a story of a springtime full of wildflowers, tender green cactus and good pasture. We drove down the side of the mountain, quiet in wonder at ourselves, at our smallness, our hubris. The steep road twisted and turned until it spat us out onto the single main road running through what would have been another town, known more by the dead than the living, had it not been fueled by the stars.

Now the road was wide and black and the air was blacker still. Out here in God’s country, there are no streetlights; and the few houses we passed held darkened windows. It was late, and jobs being what they were, one got up with the sun and evidently went to bed with it too. And that is when I saw it.

At first I did not know what it was. A white blur in the middle of the broad black way. The powerful beams of the truck illuminated it, but the shape was so far away, that it could have been a woman drunk and crying, a spirit, perhaps even a concentrated and rapidly moving fog bank.

Except even then there was direction, electricity, and purpose. This was a creature and it was headed straight for us. As it neared, I gasped out “horse!” and so it was.

A beautiful animal at least eighteen hands high and in the flash between black and headlight, it was pure white. It swerved, and with eyes rolling, it passe our vehicle and continued galloping down that road, carrying with it a legacy of power, exertion, and grace that came up from behind and stole away the breath.

Overhead was a different light. Not star nor moon, not the glow of the animal itself nor the two bright headlights, but a spotlight from a helicopter looking for the animal. The owner must have been distraught-the horse looked well-cared for and healthy: someone loved it. And perhaps whoever was looking for the animal was concerned about it too – its loss, and the fear that travels in the wake of loss like a knife laid against the thin skin of your chest.

I want to believe it was not simply leather-handed men and women worried that a rogue horse with such power and at a full gallop could cause a wreck, or a death, or could damage something or someone and result in the spending of money. I choose to believe that they cared for both creature and family-desiring to put their job-calloused hands to the work of touching, repairing, healing and reuniting. I wanted it too, for inside the glass and steel vehicle, so like the glass and concrete observatory on the mountain, I had felt the eye-rolling fear, the steaming breath smelling like clover once warmed under a gentle sun, now covered with dust. But I felt also the thrill.

Oh, to run!

To run straight for the other side of the knife we call fear, cutting a trail made of celestial dust and star-fire blazing forth, so that those with courage might follow it to something new and unknown. The white horse was running, and I wanted it to run into the night, into what stretches beyond broken people and fractured places, where it is dark, and whole, and wild.

Under the light of the magical Scorpio Moon, with your divination tool of choice consider asking:

What are my depth-sounding stories?
What would change if I did listen to it, or share it with others?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on new moons and full moons each month.

Magical Missives: How to Seal and Bless Yourself

Lunar Letter

T

oday one of the greatest challenges I see for soulful seekers is developing skin” not actual skin, mind you, but emotional and spiritual skin. Our bodily skin is a beautiful thing: it is not a rigid boundary.  It offers protection to internal organs, while being a bridge of sensitivity to the the surrounding world.  Our challenge is not making thin skin somehow thicker; but trying to work with skin that appears to be missing in the first place.  Soulful seekers are delightfully and dreadfully opento possibility, to enthusiasm, to optimism, and enchantment. But with this very high degree of openness, also comes increased sensitivity to all of the stressors in daily life to those things that cause worry, anxiety, and suffering, to the point where reading the daily news cycle is an exercise in daily open heart and open gut surgery.

What is needed here is protection magic that is strong, simple, and durable.

This is a little ceremony that teaches you how to seal yourself and begin to get skin so that you are better able to choose what and who is allowed into your inner sanctum, as well as what and who is not allowed within your borders. The magic made here is not about cutting off or casting out in most cases, nor about being closed up; rather, it is about you, making the needed effort, to keep yourself inner and outer safe, yet dynamic.

What you will need:
A quiet place where you will be undisturbed.

An answer to the following question:
What place(s) in my physical body take in the most external information?
(My answers to this question are: eyes, head, mouth, heart, ears, and hands).

A physical gesture that you decide on to acknowledge each answer you gave.
(I use the traditional sign of making the cross over myself as part of my lineage is Catholic and also as I know that crosses are much older than any one faith tradition, speaking to the crossroads and the liminal).

Any other ritual items you might desire, like candles or incense.

Ceremony:
Cultivate Calmness
Take a moment to become aware of and connect to the earth beneath your feet, as you do so, breathe in the deep, green, energy of the earth and breathe out in gratitude thank you.
Take a moment to become aware of and connect to the celestial skies above your head, as you do so, breathe in the high, bright, energy of the stars and breathe out in gratitude thank you.
Take a third moment to become aware of and connected to your physical body and all that it does for you.
Acknowledge your desire to shield and protect yourself so that you walk in greater sovereignty.
Attending to the answer you gave to the question above, breathe in a blessing on yourself. Exhale in gratitude thank you, and as you do so make the physical gesture over yourself that you have decided upon.
Notice how it feels to be shielded and sealed.
If you want, conclude with a series of blessings.

Final act:
Repeat daily. I recommend doing this at least three times, morning, noon, and night, you can of course perform it more frequently than that.

Love and Magic,
Bri

PS: the above illustration is from the dark and wonderful story known both as Donkeyskin and Deerskin and is by Arthur Rackham, an illustrator whose work I deeply love. The story is all about the traumas that happen, even in the best” families and teaches how skins fit, don’t fit, and can be grown. Read the entire story here and for a wonderful exploratory essay on the story, check out this article from the Journal of Mythic Arts.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on new moons and full moons each month.

Full Moon in Libra: Open Horizons

Lunar Letter

D

ear Miracles,

I am often asked about power. What is it? Who has it? How can we get it? Why do we give it away? Is it even something that can be given away? Why do people take it? What does right relationship with it look and feel like? And, most poignantly of all, what if I don’t have any?

Power gets a lot of air time. More than one excellent coach or teacher talks about standing in your power, claiming your power, and naming your powers. Superpowers have migrated from the comic book stands and pages of graphic novels into self-development circles, and I even teach a year-long course that looks at how stories and sacred arts put us into touch with our native powers. Power certainly gets around.

And yet, for all of that, it is still a very confusing topic that often feels raw and tender and alien, as if power is a special substance that belongs to someone else but not really to you or to me. There seems to be an epidemic feeling of powerlessness in our personal and collective lives.

For this month’s full moon in Libra, we look at the power of open horizons. For many of us, at some point in life – or even at most points in life – the horizon does not feel open and the way does not feel clear. We each carry a lineage, a lineage heavy with feelings, thoughts and experiences that tell us that the way is closed – that is, that we cannot do it, no matter how hard we try and no matter how good we are, and that it is not going to work out in the end. Or, that even if it does work out in the end, it isn’t really going to make a difference anyway.

 These are not abstract ideas. They are stories about real people and lived experiences handed down parent to child, grandparent to grandchild, aunt to niece and nephew, cousin to cousin, brother to sister. They are the stories, many of them sad, many of them hopeless, many of them fatalistic, that form the warp and weft of our lives. They are the material and habits of mind and thinking that suck the wind out of your sails and the power right out of your blood.

And that is just the inheritance many of us receive. It does not touch upon the counterproductive – or even just plain bad – philosophies, ideas and relationships that we fall into and buy into all on our own!

Our first impulse may be to try to throw off all of these things weighing us down, to move forward without looking back. But the very curious thing we find is that the special power and meaning of open horizons unfolds within a deep relationship with its opposite.  We tend to think the opposite of an open horizon has something to do with stifling limitations.  But this is only one kind of opposite, the one that contradicts. There is another, and that is the one that complements or completes.  Usually we stop with the contradictory and don’t go on to consider the other side.  But the true complementary opposite of the open horizon is not that terribly powerless feeling of being limited, but is, rather, feeling at home in the world.

Let’s call it ‘homefulness’ for now – a full feeling of actually, for real, being at home. What is that really like? Now under some conditions the dwelling places we call by name “home” lack this feeling; but the feeling of true homefulness, of being at home, I think you will agree, is far from a painfully limiting indolence, or a trap, but is much closer to a joyful flourishing.  Think of one of those big beautiful trees you see around on occasion.

To bless the open horizons of our life, therefore, is also to bless our being truly at home in the world in some way, shape or form.

Now the real secret is that deep in the heart of our heavy lineages, the ones that stand in the way, somewhere this true sense of home resides. What is implied by the thickets of misunderstandings and bad ideas and bad actions – the ones that alienate us and others? It is, in truth, the very possibility of home, of feeling completely, utterly, wholly at home.

If you want to start at the beginning, and hone in on what creates an open horizon in the first place – if you want to discover the actual open horizon in your life – look to the feeling of being at home. Where is your true sense of being at home, of belonging?  Where do you actually locate it? If you can find that for yourself, then not very far away from this you will soon discover the freedom and potential that comes with an open horizon, the journeys yet to be traveled and those great discoveries yet to be made by you.

There is, moreover, a small magical act than can clear the road and open the way. It is a power, one that I consider native ground for every single one of us and it is this: our choice.

You get to choose. You get to choose your approach, your attitude, your priorities. You get to make a different choice if the ones you have been making are not working.

You can choose to tell the same sad stories or to tell a different set of stories, ones that work as good medicine strengthening heart, soul, mind, and body all together. If you do not have any happy stories in your family then look harder. If you still cannot find them then guess what? You can choose to create them, to write them, you can choose to live them.

Also too, you get to choose the teachings and the teachers and the learning that inform and color your own life. What ideas give you strength to stand and act with wisdom and courage and love? What teachings or teachers do not?

You get to choose what experiences you learn from and what experiences you choose to give value to and you also get to choose what experiences do not have the depth or weight to bear down upon you any longer. In short, you get to choose what you want to keep and what you would like to finally set down.

It has been said that our choices make us who we are and I find that to be true. But more than that, our choices reveal to us who we want to be, and our choices influence those around us too. If you are looking for a spiritual practice you could stop now: the choices you make every day and the way you live them is the practice that we have all signed up for.

Now to be clear: making a different choice does not mean that everything will always work out well in the end, or that you can avoid and escape the tough stuff that you are about to run headlong into. It is a power and like any real power it must be nourished, refined, and cultivated.

But that is the magic of an open horizon. The magic begins with the thrilling kiss of the unknown, and can lead to great mystery and wild adventure, or it can lead you to your true home, or to a little church in the mountains where just the right prayer can be prayed. The road is open and you get to choose how you want to travel it; how you want to show up in the world today, tomorrow, and every day after.

Divination Question for Full Moon in Libra

The power of choice and the open horizon that it creates is an especially appropriate theme for the Libra full moon since one of the great teachings of Libra with her balances and blindfolds is that our choices matte and that also, we make them every single day. So under the light of Luna in Libra, consider a situation that has been sticky and tricky for you. Then, with the divination tool you love best, try asking this question:

What would happen if I made a different choice?

Lunar love to each and every one of you!